158654 Politics and policy of building trust on official statistics: The U.K. experience

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 9:30 AM

Luis Alberto Aviles, PhD , Sociology, University of Puerto Rico, Boqueron, PR
In spite of the methodological devices that assure the precision of statistics, citizens are the final adjudicators of the trust, independence, and quality of official statistics (as unemployment figures, for example.) Being aware of citizens' increasing mistrust of official statistics, the U.K. Office of the Treasury embarked in 2006 in an open consultation process, presenting its legislative proposal for official statistics reform and soliciting all interested parties to submit their reactions. The consultation process resulted in 78 responses from individuals, current and former government officials, professional organizations, banks, and corporations. This consultation process sheds light on issues that any government that would like to improve the citizens' trust on official statistics should consider, such as: (1) a truly independent governance of statistics; (2) the operational independence from government; (3) government interference and spin; (4) ensuring quality of data at the national and local levels; and (5) the particular needs of health related organizations. In the years to come it is difficult to see a more pressing task for statisticians than that of building citizens' trust on official statistics.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify two signs of citizensí mistrust of official statistics. 2. Identify three mechanisms for the governance of statistics 3. Define spin and discuss its relation to government

Keywords: Statistics, Organizational Change

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.